While there is no doubting that virtualization is not only a technology to watch, but one that will move into the mainstream real soon now, there remains a question of just how soon that will actually be. A new survey by emedia suggests that the timescale for making that move, at least as far as 50 percent of the IT professionals it asked, is within the next 18 months.

However, it is the reasons why virtualization is not working for more people right now that interest me more. The indication, for example, that 52 percent of people questioned are concerned with the new security challenges the technology introduces. Challenges such as patching and updates which concerned 32 percent and guest-to-guest attacks 27 percent. Mind you, when pressed the same IT professionals were quick to admit that they can overcome these threats with staff training (51 percent), firewalls (30 percent) and network separation (25 percent.)

Yet even these concerns are not what is really holding back the move to virtualization, it is much more straightforward than that and can be summed up as where is the beef? The simple lack of a compelling business case for total cost of ownership and of course getting a return on the investment, cost and budget restraints and insufficient staff expertise can all come to the front of the real world obstacles queue. I suspect that it is that first combination of TCO and ROI that will continue to hold back the virtualization charge, especially as 49 percent of those questioned insisted that reduced cost of ownership was the most important purchasing criteria.

David Clark, Managing Director at emedia, concludes that “the advantages of virtualization appear to be tantalising but it seems that IT managers approach it with caution" which, it seems to me, is something of an understatement.

Even if you move out of the strictly business arena and into the home user market, virtualization looks like it is hitting more stumbling blocks as Microsoft announces it will not, after all, open up Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium to be used in this way.

Reports are emerging that the previous briefing given to select US journalists suggesting that the entire Vista family would be allowed to be used for virtualization has now been reversed. “Microsoft has reassessed the Windows virtualization policy and decided that we will maintain the original policy announced last fall” the company now insists, although no clear cut reasons are given for the change of heart. Mac OS X users running Boot Camp or Parallels will have to use the more expensive Vista Business or Vista Ultimate editions, which funnily enough can be used within a virtualization environment.

About the Author

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

I think the title is inappropriate. maybe "virtualization slow to catch on in businesses" or "virtualization still has major flaws."

Perhaps I should have said 'Virtualization is not working, yet."

It was meant to be something of a pun on the fact that virtualization isn't catching on as fast in the world of work (business) as the hype might suggest.

Really i think that microsoft might be to blame (in at least for the use of it within a home) with this no virtulization for home basic or premium. Being both a mac and PC user i have XP pro installed using boot camp on my mac and was thinking of upgrading that to vista soon but the thing that really stops me doing that is the idea of having to buy the business edition which is really something that is rather excessive for a personal computer and ultimate even more so. not to mention the massive price difference between premium and bussiness or ultimate.